Cheating at Slots
Cheating at Slots 2014
Cheating at slots is often frowned upon but it is certainly an interesting subject. There are many stories of people who have successfully attempted cheating at slots.
Reading about various methods used by these people to cheat slot machines may be exciting, but you should definitely be cautious when you give it a try in real life. Modern slot machines are highly advanced and very difficult to take advantage of.
There are as many as 3 million slot machines in brick and mortar casinos across the world. Slots are often one of the biggest contributors to a casino’s revenue. As much as 80% of a casino’s income may come from its slot machines. So slot cheats can do some serious damage to a casino’s business.
According to estimates, gaming establishments in Nevada alone have had to bear a loss of millions of dollars every year as a result of slot machine cheating. This is one of the reasons why modern casinos have surveillance cameras covering every inch of the place.
Various Slots Cheat Methods
A big casino can have around 5,000 slot machines or more and continuously monitoring all the machines may not be possible. This provides an opening for slot cheats to try their luck. Slot machine cheaters have tried a number of different techniques in an effort to make big money, these include:
Cheating with coin and string or yo-yo method
This was one of the oldest methods used by cheaters to trick slot machines. The concept was simple. Cheaters used to attach a string to a coin before inserting it into the slot machine. After the machine registered that a coin has been inserted, the person used to simply pull out the coin using the string taped to it.
This enabled the person to use the same coin over and over again to add to his/her credit without investing a single penny. Because of the yo-yo like action of dropping the coin and pulling it back up, this method is also called yo-yo method.
Some cheats have tried using this same trick with bills as well. They would attach a string to a bill instead of a coin before dropping it into the slot machine and pull it out once the money was registered.
The problem with this method was that it involved a visible string coming out of the coin slot, which would be difficult to justify for the fraudster. Since the discovery of yo-yo method, the slot machines have been modified to ensure that the coins once dropped into the machine can not be pulled out.
Cheating with devices like the monkey’s paw
Devices like the monkey’s paw, which was a foot long flexible steel rod bent into the shape of a claw, were also a popular method of cheating at slots. The device was inserted into a slot machine through the payout outlet and used to tamper with the coin counter to cause overpayment.
The monkey’s paw was one of the early devices used by slot cheats. Since then other devices that can tamper with a slot machine’s coin comparator have also been invented and used. Such devices, when inserted into the machine, could generate fake signals so that credit would be registered without any coins being inserted.
This enabled the cheater to play without making any payment or make money simply by cashing out. Today most casinos use highly sophisticated machines that cannot be tampered with such devices.
Cheating with shaved coins or tokens
This was another popular method of cheating at slots used by fraudsters in olden days. The cheats realized that if they shaved off a tiny bit of a coin and dropped such coin in a slot machine, the coin would be registered, but it would be rejected and discharged.
This meant that the person could keep using the same coin again and again to add credit just like the coin and string method, but without the disadvantage of a visible string sticking out.
In order to avoid such cheating, many casinos started using tokens instead of coins in their slot machines. But cheaters have tried the same trick with tokens as well i.e. using shaved tokens to cheat slot machines.
With hundreds of cameras surveying every inch of modern casinos, a fraudster is sure to draw attention, if he/she tried this method. Moreover, the sophisticated machines used today ensure that the rejected coin/token is not registered in the credit.
Cheating with foreign coins
Fraudsters have even tried cheating casinos using foreign coins. They used foreign coins having a close resemblance to the US currency, but a very low value. The value of these foreign coins would be as much as ten times lower than the American coin it would be mistaken for.
This resulted in a significant loss for the casinos. But it is almost impossible to fool the advanced slot machines of today with such a trick.
Cheating with fake money or token
The use of counterfeit money is not exactly a slot cheating method, but slot machines are often used to launder fake bills. Good quality fake bills can closely resemble the real ones and the electronic sensors on slot machines may not be able to catch the difference.
This means that there was no way to catch the cheat as he will be long gone by the time the machine is opened and fraud discovered. Some cheats have even tried producing fake tokens that resemble the ones offered by a particular casino.
The disadvantage of these methods is that producing fake bills or tokens is not so easy. Also, producing counterfeit bills is a very serious crime and the cheater can end up spending many years in jail. Counterfeit token are also taken very seriously by casinos and cheaters can expect strong action.
Cheating with mini-lights – Slot machine cheaters have even tried blinding the machines. They made use of mini-lights, which is a small battery operated light emitter, to tamper with the optical sensors of slot machines, which are used to count coins to be paid out. This sometimes resulted in overpayment. But the modern slot machines come with safeguards against such devices.
Cheating by a casino insider
In the history of slot frauds, there have been a few cheaters who have made ambitious plans of introducing errors in the slot machine program before its installation in a casino, so that it paid out on pressing buttons in a particular pattern.
The success of such a plot is impossible without the help of a casino insider and a real programmer. Majority of such plots have ended up in failure with the fraudsters serving long jail terms.
As slots machines become more and more sophisticated, cheaters are also coming up with advanced techniques of cheating. But with the introduction of hi-tech slot machines that accept only cards, not coins, the future of slot cheats is bleak.
One of the most famous fraudsters in the history of slot cheating
Tommy Glenn Carmichael is a slot cheating legend. He is probably the most famous person in the field. Although a cheater, Tommy’s mechanical genius can’t be denied. He started his slot cheating career using a device called a ‘top-bottom joint’. The initial success encouraged him to close his shop and leave for Vegas. But soon he was caught and sentenced to prison.
Five years of jail time could not change Tommy. On getting out of the prison, he realized that slot machine technology had changed. He soon educated himself and came up with the famous monkey paw device mentioned earlier. As the slot machine technologies kept changing, Tommy kept coming up with newer devices to cheat them.
When slot machines started using the optical sensor technology, Tommy invented a light wand that could blind these sensors. He managed to overcome the slot machine safety device called the actuator arm with his ‘hanger’. According to records, he took 7 cruises within 6 months in 1995, winning huge amounts of money in casinos at these ships.
The following year Tommy was arrested, but the charges were dropped. He still did not mend his ways. He was arrested once again in 1998-99 and in 2001 he was sentenced to a year in prison, 3 years of probation and prohibition from entering casinos.
He is listed in the Nevada black book, which lists various casino fraudsters and the methods used by them. Slot cheats account for about 27% of the entries in this book.
Tommy has finally changed sides and is now working with casinos to develop an anti-cheating technology to prevent people like him from cheating. He now aims to make a fortune by selling products that prevent cheating, as opposed to earlier days when he was known for his inventions that helped fraudsters to cheat at slot machines. He has also been featured in “Breaking Vegas’ series on the History Channel.
Rather than cheating and ending up on the wrong side of the law, strategic gaming can help you win big legally. If you get rid of the misconception that gambling is all about luck, you will realize that strategies do play a role in winning at any casino games, including slot machines.